OSHA Is Granted the Ability to Increase Maximum Regulatory Penalties Up to 82%


All Employers


August 1, 2016


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On November 2, 2015, President Obama signed H.R. 1314, also known as the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which contains a provision that would allow the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) the ability to increase penalty fines as much as 82%. This provision allows OSHA a “catch-up adjustment” to compensate for over two decades of static fines.  It has not yet been confirmed that OSHA will choose to increase penalties to the full 82% allowed; the provision simply grants OSHA the ability to do so, and does not actually require such action. However, increases are highly likely based upon previous commentary from OSHA leadership about the benefits of stiffer regulatory punishments.  Initial penalty increases are mandated to become effective as of August 1, 2016; however, the new penalties can be assessed to violations occurring before the penalty increase.

This information applies to all employers nationwide, even those who do not have a typically hazardous work environment.  Citations for violating seemingly minor safety regulations, especially repeat violations, could now cost almost double the previous maximum fine.

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